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Donald Judd and the Sikkens prijs ’93

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In 1993 Donald Judd was awarded the Sikkens Prijs for his radical approach to Modern Art. It was a well deserverd award for an artist who stood at the brink of Minimal Art and founded one of the most inspiring artists “colonies” in Marfa texas.

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Not much later Judd died in 1994 of Cancer, but his art remains and has proven to be (arguably) being the most important art made in the 20th century. The Stedelijk Museum and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag both have some very important Judd’s in their collections and over time these works have not lost their appeal. I am personally convinced that in a few decades , the Minimal art by Judd is considered to be of the highest importance in the development of Modern Art/ http://www.ftn-books.com has the Judd publication published with the Sikkens Award ao. available .

judd sik a

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Donald Judd and the Chinati foundation

Marfa Texas…that is where the Chinati Foundation is settled. The Foundation was an initiative by Donald Judd who founded this in 1979. Since buildings were eerected and exhibitions were being held with friends and admired artists. There were exhibitions with works by John Chamberlain, an installation by Dan Flavin occupying six former army barracks, and works by Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. Each artist’s work is installed in a separate building on the museum’s grounds.

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One of the main buildings is called the Arena. It was built in the 1930s as a gymnasium for the soldiers at Fort D.A. Russell. After the fort closed in 1946, the gym floor was torn up for the wood, and sand was laid to provide an indoor arena for horses. In the mid 1980s, Judd restored the building, which was largely dilapidated. Judd left the long strips of concrete that had originally supported the wooden floor, and filled the intervening spaces with gravel. For practical considerations, Judd poured a large concrete area by the kitchen at the south end, and a smaller area at the north end of the building’s interior. These two areas comprise half of the total area of the building. Judd also added a sleeping loft and designed the outer courtyard, which includes areas for eating, bathing, and a barbecue. There are two works by David Rabinowitch installed in the building: one on the ground floor (Elliptical Plane in 3 Masses and 4 Scales, 1971-72) and one in the loft (6-Sided Bar, III, 1969). These works are on long-term loan from the Judd Foundation.

Chinati is like a Disney park for the Minimal art admirer. Everything breathes Minimal Art and the Judd designs make it even more special. There  are some very nice Donald Judd books available at www.ftn-books.com including one publication by the Chinati foundation.

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John Wesley (1928)

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Pop artist John Wesley is one of the lesser known Pop Art artist for us Europeans. There was of course this great 1993 exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, but since few other exhibitions were being held in this part of the world. Still, Wesley is a much more famous in the US, but has never reached the popularity of the other Pop art artist like Warhol and Lichtenstein.

The spareness of his technique often seems more akin to the school known as Minimalism, however, and indeed his closest personal associations were with artists such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, the latter of whom wrote a laudatory essay on Wesley’s early work and later set aside a space for him at his complex in Marfa, Texas. Wesley himself considers his work to be aligned with Surrealism, and many of his paintings since the 1960s have taken this dimension yet further, while retaining an extremely limited range of colors and a sign-like flatness. Several retrospectives of his work have been held, the most recent at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 2000, but since it is quiet except for some gallery presentations. This artist deserves much more , because his works really stand out from the other Pop Art artist and have a quality of their own. www.ftn-books.com has beside some very nice Pop art books, the famous and rare Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1993 available.

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John Wesdley is represented by the David Kordansky gallery who has some nice examples of his works on their site :

http://davidkordanskygallery.com/artist/john-wesley/